As much as most people love traveling, as we get older, it seems that it becomes more and more complicated. You have to take into account all sorts of things that were never important before, like flying hours, senior-friendly destinations, mobility issues and the like.
But traveling when you’re a senior doesn’t have to be complicated. Especially when you can take advantage of certain perks like a more flexible schedule, senior discounts and many other things that can help you save big bucks and still enjoy your holiday.
With that in mind, let’s find out some of the most important travel tips for seniors who love to travel and explore the world, as recommended by travel experts.
Smart Tips For Seniors to Save Money When Traveling
Chose wisely when it comes to itineraries
It might not have been a decisive factor in your younger years, but travel times can make or break one’s holiday. Why not start your journey on a good note?
According to French Bee airline’s Head of Sales US & Pacific, Thomas Renault, selecting travel times that maximize the time spent at the actual destination is essential. He recommends opting for red-eye flights or an eastern route if your destination is Europe. This way you spend less time in the air and more time on the ground. For instance, for a flight to Paris, you can depart from Miami at 9 pm and arrive at ORY the following day at 11:40 am. The return flight leaves at 2:30 pm and arrives at MIA at 6:45 pm.
Look for basic fares with add-ons
Opt to travel with airlines that offer options to customize your tickets according to your budget and needs, advises Renault. At first glance, you might be inclined to go for flights that include as many services as possible. While that might be comfortable in some cases, in many cases you’re not going to use all those services. So why pay for them in vain?
“While seniors can book the standard all-encompassing ticket offering that includes a checked bag, save on the extra spend by booking a ticket that has no frills or extras and build from there,” he suggests.
Travel to less popular destinations
Another good way to save money while traveling is to choose destinations that are less popular and expensive. Think outside the box and you won’t regret it.
For instance, instead of going to Paris again, choose another city or region in France that is just as beautiful and interesting, if not more. More than that, book airplane and train tickets together to get them for lower prices and “have guarantees on travel in case of delays or cancellations,” recommends Renault.
Give up your seat on full flights
In retirement, you are in charge of your time more than before, which means your schedule is more flexible than in your younger years. If the case, don’t hesitate to give up your seat on full flights. If you’re not on a strict schedule, this move might bring you some nice money in your pocket.
“When they ask for volunteers, the sky’s the limit on what an airline might offer you (generally a voucher and possibly a confirmed upgrade), but that will depend significantly on the timing and route,” explains Dave Grossman, a travel expert.
Airlines might offer airline vouchers in exchange for volunteers giving up their seats, and those vouchers might be worth a few hundred dollars. Not exactly peanuts money, is it? If the need to accommodate all passengers occurs right before an important holiday, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, the amounts received might be even higher. Use their “problem” to your advantage!
Look out for airline senior discounts
One of the perks when retiring is that there are all sorts of deals and discounts you can benefit from, some bigger than others. When it comes to airline companies, depending on the flights you select, you might get important discounts.
For instance, United has a booking option called “Senior 65+” while Air France, British Airways, Delta, and JetBlue have their own senior discounts and lower fares. Look for such deals and reduce your travel costs right from the very start. This makes traveling quite fun, doesn’t it?
Get an AARP membership
Being an AARP member comes with a lot of impressive perks. Travel discounts make no exception, according to Grossman. Your AARP membership can bring you serious discounts if you travel with British Airways. Similarly, if you book round-trip transatlantic flights, being an AARP member can save you $65 off World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) or $200 off Club World (business class).
Whatever airline and flights you choose, be sure to register as an AARP member first. It would really be a pity not to use your age in your favor.
Book your flights through AARP
Not only your AARP membership can help you save some pretty bucks and maximize your savings but it can also simplify your travel arrangements. How? By booking your travel directly with AARP. Members enjoy impressive deals and discounts, seasonal offers and many more travel-related perks if they opt to go with the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia.
If you’re on a tight budget, traveling might not be a priority. Here’s how to save some money and be able to enjoy traveling as you please:How to Enjoy Tax-Free Retirement Income with These 6 Proven Methods
Travel during the week or slower months
If you don’t want to travel with the crowds and wait in a queue to take a quick photo at some popular tourist attraction, then you have two smart options: travel during the week instead of the weekends or travel during less busy months.
Not only will you pay less for flights and accommodation, but you might also get some free nights and hotel credits. Traveling in slower periods, when there are fewer tourists does have its perks, you just need to be flexible. Luckily, in retirement, you can do just that.
Double-check discount rates
Every time you book a flight or a hotel room, make sure you double-check the deals and discount rates, recommends Grossman. An AARP membership can indeed bring you some serious discounts and deals “but there may be a AAA rate or even a promotional rate that is cheaper,”, says Grossman. Verify and compare your options so that you can choose the best one that maximizes your budget.
Pay more for refundable rates and fares
Even with thorough and detailed planning, there are things beyond our control. This is especially valid as you get older. According to Grossman, it’s recommended to opt for refundable rates and fares, even if you have to pay a little bit more. At the end of the day, you will still have the upper hand.
If something happens and you are not able to make your flight, you get your money, or most of it, back. It’s important to find cancelable flights with appropriate rates so that you can be covered and able to stay calm if something unexpected happens and you have to cancel your travel plans.
Hopefully, you make the right moves to have the best traveling experiences ever!